Zygaenid moths are typically day-flying with a slow fluttering flight, and with rather clubbed antennae. They generally have a metallic sheen and often prominent spots of red or yellow. The bright colours are a warning to predators that the moths are distasteful - they contain hydrogen cyanide throughout all stages of their life-cycle. Unlike most insects with such toxins, they obtain glucosides from feeding on Birds-foot Trefoil so that they, themselves can use HCN as a defence. The Lepidoptera: Form, function and diversity. Oxford They are known to have mimicry complexes based on these toxins.Larvae are stout and may be flattened. A fleshy extension of the thorax covers the head. Most feed on herbaceous plants, but there are some tree-feeders. Larvae in two subfamilies, Chalcosiinae and Zygaeninae, have cavities in which they store the cyanide, and can excrete it as defensive drops.
A beautiful day- flying moth with irrdescent yellow/green wing scales. The caterpillars are pale green or yellow with a dark stipe down the centre of the back and some fine white hairs down their back. The moths can often be found feeding on meadow flowers such as Ragged robin and Clover.
Woods, parks, damp meadows
Nector. The caterpillars feed on sorrel.
Found in many parts of the U.K